Hyundai Motor Company today held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new electric vehicle (EV) plant at its complex in Ulsan. With an investment of $1.53 billion, the new EV-dedicated plant will produce up to 200,000 EVs per year.
The new Hyundai EV assembly plant will be a human-centered facility with an innovative manufacturing platform that delivers an optimal working environment for employees, the company stated. It will also be the hub for its mobility production in the era of electrification.
“The new EV-dedicated Plant in Ulsan is the beginning of a promising future for the next 50 years and the era of electrification. I am honored to share our dream of a 100-year company here,” said Executive Chairman Euisun Chung. “Just as the dream of building the best car in the past made Ulsan an automotive city today, I trust Ulsan will be an innovative mobility city that leads the way in the era of electrification, starting with a dedicated EV plant.”
First Vice Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Young-jin Jang said, “I believe that Hyundai Motor will stand out as a powerhouse in the electric vehicle era with decisive investments. The government will prioritize supporting the improvement of the business investment environment, including bold tax incentives and eliminate regulations that inhibit economic growth.”
Hyundai Motor’s new EV-dedicated plant in Ulsan will form part of a 548,000-sqm site with a capacity to produce 200,000 EVs per year. Approximately KRW 2 trillion ($1.53 billion) will be invested in the project, with full-scale construction set to begin in the fourth quarter of this year. The construction is scheduled to be completed in 2025, and vehicle mass production will commence in the first quarter of 2026. An electric SUV from Hyundai Motor Group luxury brand, Genesis, will be the first model to be produced at the new plant.
The dedicated EV plant in Ulsan will be located on the site of Hyundai Motor’s former proving ground, a place where the company looked to the future and shaped innovation.
The proving ground was first utilized in the 1980s, when the company was actively seeking to expand into overseas markets, developing vehicles that could withstand the diverse terrains and harsh climates found around the world.
Here, Hyundai Motor developed such high-quality global models as Sonata, Accent and Elantra. It was on this site that advanced technology research for EVs and autonomous driving began early on, with the goal of creating world-class vehicles.
In 1991, Hyundai Motor’s first EV prototype, Sonata (Y2) EV, was developed, and the following year, the first driverless car successfully completed its initial test drive on the Belgian Road test track.
The comprehensive engineering test center, where many of Hyundai Motor’s vehicles were born and where the seeds for future vehicle research were sown, bore fruit with EVs, such as the IONIQ 5 and award-winning IONIQ 6.
Hyundai Motor said it plans to apply an innovative manufacturing platform that was developed by the Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center in Singapore (HMGICS) at its dedicated EV plant in Ulsan to future-proof the facility and prioritize employee safety, convenience and efficiency.
HMGICS’ manufacturing innovation platform includes demand-driven, AI-based intelligent control systems; eco-friendly, low-carbon construction methods to achieve carbon neutrality and RE100 certification (100 percent renewable energy use); and human-friendly facilities that enable safe, efficient working.
Hyundai Motor stated it will use this to build a smart logistics system, including automated parts logistics, at the new EV plant. It will introduce a flexible production system to diversify vehicle models, respond to global market changes and automate assembly facilities to improve productivity and quality.
The company plans to create a safer, more accurate and efficient workplace with innovative technologies, such as robotics, smart logistics systems and AI to improve the working environment. A nature-friendly space design, breaking away from the closed image that comes to mind when thinking of a conventional plant will help realize the next-generation manufacturing philosophy as a cradle of eco-friendly future mobility production.
The new EV-dedicated plant will feature a nature-friendly design to reduce worker fatigue and encourage interaction with each other, a departure from the dreary factory environment of heavy machinery.
Natural light will be maximized inside the factory so that workers can feel the warmth of the sun, and the group lounge, which will be used as a rest and office space, will be organized in an open format so that people can gather naturally.
In addition, the plant’s Central Park, which brings the nature of Ulsan into the facility, is expected to become a rest area and a hub connecting each building.
In addition, solar power panels and upcycled concrete panels will be applied to the building façade, making it a sustainable plant that minimizes carbon emissions.
The new facility builds on the vision of Hyundai Motor’s Founding Chairman Ju-yung Chung (1915-2001), who believed the car industry would become the cornerstone of the Korean economy and underpin the country’s industrial development. More than half a century ago, he chose Ulsan as the location to help to create a better outlook and realize Korea’s mobility dreams. Now, the new EV plant will build on that legacy with a global impact.
“We have the world’s greatest strength, and that strength is the world’s best craftsmen. I am confident that thanks to their ability and dedication, Korean cars, our cars, will soon take the world by storm.” the Founding Chairman said historically.
His famous quote was reproduced through artificial intelligence (AI) technology and shared at the groundbreaking ceremony, demonstrating the humanistic spirit of Hyundai Motor and representing the long-held dream of its employees to become a global automotive powerhouse.
Beginning as an assembly plant in 1968, Hyundai Motor’s Ulsan Plant grew by leaps and bounds in an incredibly short period of time. The mass production of Hyundai Motor’s first unique model, the Pony, in 1975 demonstrated the unrelenting determination and incredible drive of the company’s employees to realize South Korea’s first independently developed automobile. They achieved this despite the harsh domestic environment and skepticism, driven by a grand dream of introducing Korean cars to the global market.
The Pony’s mass production was also a catalyst for technological independence, leading to localization of automotive parts production where the company had been previously reliant on overseas markets. It also led to the development of domestic automobile production technology.
In addition, Honorary Chairman Mong-Koo Chung’s prioritization of quality management became the source of Hyundai Motor’s transformation into a global brand that could leave its mark on the global automotive industry beyond South Korea.
More than half a century later, Hyundai Ulsan Plant is the largest single plant in the world, the center of the company’s finished vehicle production and the birthplace of the Korean automotive industry.
The EV-dedicated facility will be Hyundai Motor’s first new plant in Korea in 29 years, following the opening of the Asan plant in 1996. The dedicated EV plant will lead the electrification era, provide products that exceed customer expectations and strengthen the domestic industry base.
Reflecting this, the new EV-dedicated plant in Ulsan will be equipped with innovative production facilities, create an optimal working environment for employees and a space for coexistence with nature, and present itself as a people-centered plant that will lead the next 50 years.
“For the past half century, Hyundai’s Ulsan Plant has evolved as technicians on the production line have learned, created and challenged new things,” Jaehoon Chang, President and CEO of Hyundai Motor Company, said. “Inheriting the heritage of the Ulsan Plant, which has turned grand dreams into reality through the power of people, Hyundai will do its best to become the first mover in the electrification era with the pride and responsibility to create mobility innovations for people.”